Beth's brother Bobby was putting up quite a fuss one morning because he didn't want to get a haircut. "I don't wanna! I don't wanna!" he cried, until his father had to tie his arms down with a belt and toss him into the back of the station wagon.
"Gosh," said Beth to her mother after her father and brother had left. "That was kind of harsh. Why couldn't we just let his hair grow until he gets so sick of it that he wanted to get it cut?"
"Oh, no, Dear One," said Beth's mother. "That wouldn't be any good. Here, let me tell you a story about one man who never had his hair cut."
And this is the story she told:
One day Samson fell in love with a woman named Delilah from the valley of Sorek. The Philistine lords went to Delilah and said, "Why don't you seduce Samson and we'll find out why he's so strong. That way we can tie him up and beat him. We'll give you eleven hundred dollars each to do it."
So Delilah went to Samson and said, "So tell me, why are you so strong? If I wanted to tie you up and beat you, what would I have to do?"
Samson said, "If you tied me up with seven wet green reeds I'd be as weak as any other man."
Delilah told the Philistine lords about this and they brought her seven wet green reeds. A bunch of Philistine men hid in Delilah's room while she tied up Samson.
When Samson was all tied up, Delilah said to him, "Here come the Philistines, Samson!" And Samson broke through the reeds like they were thread in a fire.
"Hey, no fair!" protested Delilah. "You lied about how to tie you up and make you weak. Come on, tell me the truth."
"Well," said Samson, "if you tie me up with brand new ropes I'll be as weak as any other man."
So Delilah went and got some new ropes. When Samson was all tied up, Delilah said to him, "Here come the Philistines, Samson." And Samson broke through the ropes like they were thread.
Delilah got upset again and said, "You tease, you lied to me again! Tell me the truth this time."
"Try weaving seven locks of my hair with a web," said Samson.
Delilah waited until Samson was asleep and tried that, too, but when she said, "Here come the Philistines, Samson," he woke up and walked around just like she hadn't done anything.
That was too much for Delilah. "I thought you said you loved me," she whined. "If you loved me then you wouldn't tease me like this."
Delilah complained to Samson like that for days and days until he couldn't stand it any more.
"Enough already," said Samson, finally. "I've never had a haircut. If you cut my hair then I'll be weak like other men. Now stop whimpering."
When Delilah realized that he wasn't lying this time, she went to the Philistine lords and told them all about it. The Philistine lords brought her a bunch of money.
Back at home, Delilah got Samson to fall asleep with his head on her lap. When Samson was good and asleep, Delilah called a man to cut Samson's hair.
This time when Delilah said, "Here come the Philistines, Samson," he woke up and said, "I've got to go outside and shake myself." But he didn't know that God wasn't taking care of him any more.
The Philistines captured Samson. They poked out his eyes, brought him to Gaza, tied him up with brass, and sent him to prison. In prison, Samson's hair grew back.
The Philistine lords got together to make a sacrifice to their god Dagon and have a party. They said, "Our god helped us catch Samson."
When the Philistines saw that Samson had been captured, they said, "Hooray for our god! He helped us catch this bad guy who ruined our country and killed a bunch of us." When they had been partying for a while, the people asked for Samson to be brought out so that they could tease him.
When Samson got there, they stood him between two pillars.
There was a boy holding Samson's hand and Samson said to him, "Would you please put my hands on the pillars that are keeping the house up so that I can lean on them?"
It turns out that the house was full. All the Philistine lords were there, and there were about three thousand people on the roof partying and watching people tease Samson.
Samson cried out, "Hey God, remember me? Make me strong one more time, God, so that I can punish the Philistines for poking out my eyes."
Then Samson grabbed the two pillars which held the house up, one in each hand, and said, "Now we're all gonna die!" And with all his strength, Samson pushed the pillars and made the house collapse, killing everyone in it.
Samson's brothers got his body and buried it near where their father was buried. And Samson judged Israel for twenty years.
Beth thought about this for a moment. "Do you mean that Bobby would be super-strong if nobody ever cut his hair?" she asked.
"If God is with him, it is possible," answered her mother. "It is better to be safe than sorry. You see where being strong got Samson."
Beth didn't think that there was much chance of God being with her brother, but she kept her mouth shut. Instead she asked, "Is it really true that Samson was a judge for twenty years after he died?".
"That's what the Bible says, Dear One. It all comes from not having proper grooming habits."
Then Beth smiled and hugged her mother. All her questions had been answered.
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